File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Giants and Braves resume their NLDS today at Turner Field.
In that respect, the Braves have to feel good about their situation. Having stormed back to win Game 2 in extra innings in San Francisco, they return home (where they posted an MLB-best 56-25 record this season) and send their ace to the mound. Because Atlanta didn't wrap up the wild card until the final day of the regular season, Tim Hudson wasn't available to return to the mound until today. But that's not such a bad thing from the Braves' standpoint, the way this all worked out.
A legitimately bad thing for Atlanta, though, is the loss of closer Billy Wagner, who has been removed from the roster after straining his oblique muscle during Game 2. Wagner, who announced earlier this year he will be retiring at season's end, is ineligible to return until the World Series. If the Braves don't get there, his fantastic career may have come to an abrupt and unfortunate end.
NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES — GAME 3
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Turner Field
TV: TBS Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Sunny, 84 degrees
GIANTS4:56 p.m. -- Golden opportunity for the Giants to jump on Tim Hudson in the top of the first, but they squandered it when Andres Torres was thrown out trying to steal third. Subsequent walks to Buster Posey and Pat Burrell would have forced a run home but instead left the bases loaded for Juan Uribe, who grounded out to end the inning. So despite four batters reaching base (on a single, an error and two walks) the Giants come away with nothing in the first.
CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Aubrey Huff
C Buster Posey
LF Pat Burrell
SS Juan Uribe
3B Mike Fontenot
RF Cody Ross
P Jonathan Sanchez
3B Omar Infante
RF Jason Heyward
1B Derrek Lee
C Brian McCann
LF Matt Diaz
SS Alex Gonzalez
2B Brooks Conrad
CF Rick Ankiel
P Tim Hudson
5:17 p.m. -- Brooks Conrad is just killing the Braves at second base. Two innings, two errors, the latest of which allowed a run to score and put the Giants up 1-0. You figured Atlanta's injuries were going to be difficult to overcome, and certainly that has been the case in the infield. With Martin Prado out, Omar Infante has been forced to third base, with Conrad forced off the bench to take over at second base. It's really hurting the Braves right now.
5:56 p.m. -- Pretty impressed with Jonathan Sanchez so far. He's retired 12 of 13 Braves hitters through four innings, allowing only a two-out walk in the first. When this guy is on, he's really good. And he appears to be on today. Giants still lead 1-0 as they head to the fifth.
6:24 p.m. -- And of course Sanchez's no-hitter is broken up by ... Tim Hudson? Figures. Now that Sanchez's date with history is over, he's got to buckle down and protect this slim 1-0 lead he's got in the sixth.
6:59 p.m. -- What a pitchers' duel. It's still 1-0 as they go to the eighth, Sanchez having allowed only the one single to Hudson, who has now departed. Johnny Venters has come out of the Atlanta bullpen to pitch the eighth.
7:21 p.m. -- Oh my, the Braves' late magic has struck again. Pinch-hitter Eric Hinske, who had been behind in the count 0-2, battled his way back and then crushed a slider from Sergio Romo down the right-field line and over the fence to put Atlanta on top 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth. Unbelievable. Now, though, Bobby Cox has to decide who's going to close for him, with Billy Wagner out.
7:26 p.m. -- And your new Braves closer is ... Craig Kimbrel.
7:35 p.m. -- Kimbrel almost got it done, he was one strike away. But then Freddy Sanchez singled up the middle to put two on with two out and bring Bobby Cox out of the dugout. It'll now be lefty Mike Dunn to face Aubrey Huff with the game on the line. High drama here.
7:39 p.m. -- Huff comes up huge. Base hit to right scores Travis Ishikawa, and we're now tied 2-2, with the go-ahead run now on second base and Buster Posey stepping to the plate. Wow.
7:45 p.m. -- Brooks Conrad is going to need to go into the Witness Protection Program. Tonight. His third error of the game allows the go-ahead run to score. Giants lead 3-2 in a ridiculously wild ballgame.
7:50 p.m. -- So we go to the bottom of the ninth, but this one is far from over. Brian Wilson, remember, blew Game 2 the other night at A&T Park. Hang onto your seats.
8:00 p.m. -- That's how you field a groundball to second. Freddy Sanchez scoops up the routine roller, throws to first and the Giants win 3-2. What a ballgame. Game 4 tomorrow. And we've still got Reds-Phillies Game 3 about to begin in Cincinnati.